“An innovative ensemble that explores a dizzying range of styles, from Appalachia and Asia Minor to Eastern Europe. They play swirling, hard-driving music that always seems to end up in unexpected places.”
“This fine group goes on a world tour of Eastern Europe…with no cultural jet lag.”
“They’re a band to watch, with some sterling musicianship and a real sense of fervour about them.”
Janam (My Soul) blends Balkan, Near Eastern and American roots and original music, creating rapturous acoustic textures, whirling rhythms and stunning vocal harmonies. Led by Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble veteran Juliana Graffagna, Janam unites some of the San Francisco Bay Area's most imaginative and devoted practitioners of Balkan and Near Eastern music, who weave together Eastern exoticism, gritty Appalachian folk melodies and their own inspired compositions. The resulting music is transcendent, sensuous and irresistible.
Setting out to explore her passions for Balkan and American folk music, vocalist Juliana Graffagna formed Janam in 2008. The group has since evolved into a tight-knit ensemble of talented multi-instrumentalists who create unique and varied textures with their mix of crystalline strings, dissonant vocal harmonies and sultry rhythms. Janam has garnered recognition throughout California and the Northwest, playing to mesmerized audiences and frenzied folk dancers in venues as diverse as Yoshi’s San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara Multicultural Center, Café du Nord, Ashkenaz and the de Young Museum.
Janam’s repertoire includes Albanian, Macedonian, Hungarian, Romanian, Greek, Turkish, Sephardic & Ashkenazi Jewish, Romani (“Gypsy”) and American roots music as well as original compositions inspired by these traditions. Janam proves that the foothills of the Balkans and the Appalachians lie in Oakland. The group’s funky meters, bittersweet modes, driving tunes, and sultry ballads invoke the nightingales and dark eyes, the hot love and cold hollows of Europe and America’s most musical mountains.
Juliana Graffagna ~ vocals, accordion
Lila Sklar ~ violin, vocals
Tom Farris ~ laouto, guitar, percussion
Gari Hegedus ~ oud, saz, mandocello, violin
Dan Auvil ~ percussion, kaval, vocals